Live 9 vs Bitwig – Why Bitwig Studio is Beta
I have seen a lot of people on the twitter channels and facebook comments who have been jumping straight into the new Live 9 hype saying Bitwig have been too late and they will be opting for Live 9. This is something I do not understand. Too late for what? As far as I know Bitwig Studio is also just around the corner and it is still too early to decide just yet. Neither software releases are available yet.
What I will go into are the reasons why Bitwig Studio would be a better choice compared to Ableton Live 9 upon release, of course trying not to be as biased as I am towards Bitwig Studio and Bitwig as a company. Remember these are my own opinions as an experienced Ableton Live user of many years and not affiliated with Bitwig in any way..
Whilst the complete instrument list in Bitwig Studio has not been finalised yet, there is your typical sampler, drum machine and synth sitting in there waiting to be abused. Ableton has been going now for over 10 years and has developed a vast array of instruments especially in the Suite 9 versions. Of course Bitwig has only been developing for around 3 years and has a lot to catch up on, if it wasn’t for Ableton and Max for Live integration in Suite I don’t think there would be much difference between the instrument library of Live 9 and Bitwig Studio.
Who actually uses all the Live instruments by themselves anyways? I am sure more external Virtual Instruments are used specifically rather than those included in Suite? Are these included instruments actually that important for todays professional producer?
In my opinion some of the effects in Bitwig Studio sound a lot more warmer and richer than Ableton Live’s which can seem very ‘glassy’ at times. For example, if someone uses the Bitcrusher in Ableton Live, it has a sonic quality that you know when you hear it in a track somewhere that the track has been produced in Ableton Live. The Bitcrusher in Bitwig Studio just seems all that more richer someway if a Bitcrusher can actually sound richer??
Also something to note here is the Max for Live devices is only available in the Suite version of Live 9, which if course in a later version of Bitwig Studio, they will have their own instruments & device builder like Max for Live fully integrated and not just bolted on. Although we don’t know the pricing structure or versions of Bitwig Studio yet this type of integration would be welcome inside just a single version of the software – Bitwig Studio. Why would we need another option for a ‘Suite Version’??
I think a version structure like Reason would be the way forward. To have an ‘Intro’ or ‘Essential’ version at a reduced limited price, then just the full ‘Studio’ software at the standard price.
Audio to Midi Feature
Bitwig: “That audio to MIDI is a feature we have been thinking about since long time ago, and we have some extra ideas to do it even better, but we have to focus in the essentials now. Step by step, we are gonna give you lots of digital love, hold on, the wigs are coming!”
Bitwig has Clip & ‘Per Note’ automation (Live does not have this?) from the offset. Why it has taken Ableton 10 years to do this is anyones guess!
Ok, so Live has updated its browser ‘a little bit’. Much better than what it was in my opinion, however Bitwig Studio’s browser is much more feature packed with a tagging system and sorting using metadata. If you are a Native Instruments user with Komplete or Maschine you will understand how powerful this feature is when using a browser in your DAW.
New Instrument Displays
These are actually cool and well implemented in Live 9 where the full EQ window can be activated to a larger size inside of Live. I think Bitwig should simply implement a pop out window for these type of plugins that require it so they can be dragged and pinned onto the secondary monitor screen (something Bitwig supports and Ableton missed out on).
Really? Although a very nice compressor, I am sure if a user wanted a better compressor than the standard one built-in they would simply purchase a renowned plugin built by Waves, UAD or iZotope for example. Glue really isn’t an attractive feature that would seal a deal.
The Ableton Live and Bitwig comparison will always be there, but since meeting Dom Wilms @ Bitwig I can safely say Bitwig seem to be more about the future of DAW’s and what new technology can be used. They simply want to make great sequencer software with the view on using new technology and not ‘old hat’ standards – at least that is what I was left feeling after Dom’s Bitwig Studio beta preview. So if you’re wanting a new DAW that makes use of new technology then you should be supporting Bitwig as they seem to look forward and not back.
Please add your comments and thoughts below even if you’re an avid Ableton user, it would be good to see what other users opinions are…